Japanese flower-arranging art / WED 4-18-12 / Constellation with Stingray Nebula / Cuneiform discovery site / Subject of 1982 best seller on sexuality / Carnaby Street type of 60s
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Constructor: Steven Riley
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: SQUARE DANCE (38A: Hoedown activity ... or what each group of circled letters is?) — circles form squares at six different places in the grid. Each of these squares spells out a dance (when read clockwise, starting in the NW corner of each square)
Word of the Day: IKEBANA (59A: Japanese flower-arranging art) —
More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of particolored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Though ikebana is a creative expression, it has certain rules governing its form. The artist's intention behind each arrangement is shown through a piece's color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the usually implied meaning of the arrangement. // Another aspect present in ikebana is its employment of minimalism. That is, an arrangement may consist of only a minimal number of blooms interspersed among stalks and leaves. The structure of a Japanese flower arrangement is based on a scalene triangle delineated by three main points, usually twigs, considered in some schools to symbolize heaven, earth, and man and in others sun, moon, and earth. The container is a key element of the composition, and various styles of pottery may be used in their construction. (wikipedia)
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KENO GAME (GAME is necessary?) (11D: Casino attraction with a "bubble"), I thought there was some kind of gambling theme happening. But honestly I didn't have much time to "think" because the answers were so darned easy to get. [Brubeck of jazz], really? Wow. [Gumbo need], four letters? Huh, I wonder... I will grant you that SAMANTHA EGGAR is an insane answer for any day of the week, and IKEBANA is exotic in a non-everyday kind of way, and IBAÑEZ is meaningless to me unless it's got a baseball clue (51D: Big guitar brand), so those answers spiced things up a little. But otherwise, it was just fill-in-the-blanks, easy as pie. Helps to be a constant solver, as usual, since stuff like AMARNA (2D: Cuneiform discovery site) and AZO and AMYL and GIA and INCA and ANTZ and ARA (52A: Constellation with the Stingray Nebula) even SUMAC just filled themselves in.
This puzzle's G-SPOT is easy to find (9D: Subject of a 1982 best seller on sexuality).
I only just now figured out that I had SAMANTHA / EGGAR (of whom I've never heard) confused with Nicole Eggert, who was on "Baywatch" and "Charles in Charge." I'm not sure which actress is more out-there as a crossword answer, but EGGAR's got the Academy Award nomination, so that probably makes her slightly more legitimate. That said. I can pick Nicole Eggert out of a line-up. Not so EGGAR.
- 29A: Pitcher Maglie who was outdueled in Don Larsen's 1956 perfect game (SAL) — not sure how I know this. Maybe I don't. Maybe I just inferred it from the "S"; the only SAL I know from baseball is SAL Bando.
- 43A: Carnaby Street type of the '60s (MOD) — Off the "D." Seemed reasonable. Probably wouldn't have gotten it so easily without the phrase "of the '60s."
- 64A: ___ Ishii ("Kill Bill" character) (O-REN) — I love this movie, and I have rejected this answer from one of my own puzzles before, so ... not hard.
- 66A: S.U.V. named for a lake (TAHOE) — where they do their squaredancing at the Tahoedown.
- 61D: 17 of them are sung before "my gosh" in a 2010 #1 Usher hit (OHS) — Decidedly better than the cereal clue.